Can’t I Just Print Out Free Math Worksheets?
Can’t I Just Print Out Free Math Worksheets?!
Page A Day Math sets are not nearly as expensive as after-school learning centers like Kumon, but they aren’t super cheap, either. Especially during these uncertain times, we are all thinking long and hard about every purchase. Do we really need this? Could we do without it? Even when thinking about our children and their educational needs, we have to make hard choices. All of this leads many parents to ask us, “Couldn’t I just print out free worksheets from home?”
Of course you could print worksheets at home, or even purchase cheaper collections of tear-off worksheets or 50-page practice books online or at the dollar store. But first, let’s take a closer look at how children learn math as well as what Page A Day Math gives you that no other on-paper, app-based, or learning-center program provides.
The Order Matters
MIT Professor Steven Pinker once described math as being “ruthlessly cumulative.” What he meant was that when kids learn math, they can’t start just anywhere and go in just any sequence. Math has to be taught in a certain order because until children learn the more fundamental skills like addition and multiplication, they won’t be able to master higher-level skills like algebra and calculus.
The process of learning addition or learning multiplication is cumulative as well. You don’t begin teaching multiplication at 6 x 7 = 42. Why not? Because math is cumulative. You start out learning multiplication at 0 x 0 = 0. After the zeroes you move to the ones. This is how children learn what is really happening when they are multiplying. It’s how children develop math fluency rather than simply memorizing multiplication tables.
My point here is, if you’re going to print out math worksheets for your child, you need to make sure the lessons are cumulative. Your child needs to start gaining automaticity with the facts before moving on.
Lots and Lots of Practice
We’ve talked before about how much practice children need in order to become fluent in math and gain automaticity. It’s a LOT! There is not enough time in the school day for the amount of practice a child requires to become fluent in basic math. This means that any worksheets you print out will likely require multiple copies.
As children learn new facts, they need to continue practicing the old ones as well. So that means if your child is learning their seven times table, and you’ve printed a worksheet covering the seven times table, you’ll also need to keep reprinting some of your previous worksheets.
Some of the practice books you can find online or at the drugstore cover a lot of topics, but they don’t provide the depth kids need to achieve fluency. They can be good for learning, but by themselves, they don’t provide enough practice for children to gain automaticity. Tear-off sheets are also lacking in depth, and are difficult to contain and organize. With Page A Day Math, children can go back and look at each book they have completed and be proud of their accomplishments.
Wait, How Many Pages?
Page A Day Math was developed to give children the right kind and the right amount of practice they truly need to have a solid foundation of math-fact fluency and math sense. In order to achieve that, each Page A Day Math kit provides between 140 and 182 pages of math facts. The pages are double-sided, so if we’re comparing them to single-sided worksheets, you would need to print out between 280 and 364 math worksheets to provide your child the amount of practice they’ll get with Page A Day Math.
Page A Day Math is also incremental, cumulative, provides six to nine months of practice, the right amount of practice per day, and reinforces good handwriting habits. We’re not trying to squash your idea of printing out math worksheets, but we are trying to give you a better idea of how much time and resources you would truly need.
I don’t know about your printer, but mine would need several ink cartridges to get through that many pages. At about $40 a pop, it would likely be cheaper to purchase Page A Day Math. Plus, Page A Day Math is full-color, has the fun math squad characters, and contains jokes and completion certificates to keep your child engaged. You can invest in Page A Day Math now and not have to pay a lot for tutoring later!
Math automaticity is achieved through cumulative learning, repetition, and practice. Brandi at MamaTeaches.com said it best in her review of Page A Day Math. A former classroom teacher herself, she found the Page A Day Math curriculum to be
“well-planned out…straightforward, and comprehensive…That means that there’s no more guessing as to what to teach and when. There’s no more rushing to make copies of pages for the kids to complete. And, most importantly, there’s no more wondering if what you’re teaching them is enough.”
So, in answer to your question, yes, you can print out worksheets. That’s what I did for my own daughter when she was struggling with math. Let me tell you, if Page A Day Math had been around back then, I would have used it in a heartbeat. It would have saved me time, money, and from worrying whether I was providing the right material at the right time. I developed Page A Day Math to keep parents from needing to print out hundreds of worksheets. And yes, it’s worth it!
About the Author and Creator of Page A Day Math
Janice began her career in education to pursue teaching pre-algebra at BASIS Tucson North, a charter school currently ranked as the sixth-best STEM school in the country by Newsweek. There she found joy in teaching math, working with parents, and inspiring children to believe in themselves and thrive. This experience, along with helping her own children succeed in math, led her to develop the Page A Day Math system.